Alastair Cook: How has retiring England great become a ‘beacon’ for cricket?

Alastair Cook: How has retiring England great become a ‘beacon’ for cricket?

Cook, 33, announced on Monday that this week’s final Test against India will be his last appearance for his country. The opening batsman has scored 12,254 runs and made 32 centuries in 160 Tests – all England records. “We should laud Alastair Cook as a person as well as a player,” Gooch said. “Forget his achievements, he is a super man, an icon in our sport and a beacon for his sport.” Gooch, one of Cook’s boyhood heroes and his former mentor, was one of many coaches, friends and former team-mates to pay tribute to the Essex batsman.

But, what are the factors that have made Cook a “icon” who will receive an emotional send-off at The Oval this week – and where do England go from here?

Cook the role model Gooch: “If you’re looking for a role model, if you’re looking for an icon in sport, let alone cricket, you couldn’t get a more upstanding person and lovely guy than Alastair Cook. He’s everything you want in a sportsperson.”

Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan: “I’m delighted he’s playing this week because if there is one England cricketer that deserves a whole week about him, it’s Cook. He is not the person to go searching for that, he’ll probably be a bit embarrassed, but he deserves it.”

Former England captain Alec Stewart: “He’s almost flown under the radar in breaking all these records and he is the heartbeat of that team in such a quiet, unassuming way.”

England assistant coach Paul Farbrace: “He’s just such a fantastic bloke to have in your team. When he’s had tough periods and when he was under pressure as captain, everyone was saying: ‘We want him, we need him, he’s our man.’ It was genuine. He’s a caring bloke, he’s not selfish in any way and he has just run out of steam.”

Ex-England spinner Graeme Swann: “He is one of the nicest men alive. He has lasted so long because he does have a sunny disposition and a way of thinking that cricket is not life and death. He always put in 100% but would appreciate the other side of life.”

Former England coach Peter Moores: “To be England’s most successful batsman ever but still be humble and have time for everybody is a great thing.”

All-time leading Test run-scorer Sachin Tendulkar: “Alastair Cook has been one of the finest batsmen to have represented England and his conduct on-field and off it has been impeccable.”

Former England team-mate Paul Collingwood: “It was very evident straight away that he was an unflappable character. He looked cool, he was relaxed, and it was obvious he was going to take to international cricket like no-one else.”

Stewart: “There is a little bit of madness in opening the batting but he’s done it so well. He’s probably not the most naturally gifted cricketer but others have not his mental strength, and their natural talent hasn’t seen them through. The combination of talent and mental strength Cook has means he’s played such a long time and broken all the records he has.”

Moores: “A lot of his traits are the best of English people – he keeps his counsel, he gets stuck in, he’s tough, and he’s resolute under pressure.”

Gooch: “Often we see players who have physical talent – Alastair Cook is talented between the ears. He’s got a lot of skills with the bat and has enhanced those as his career has gone on but he’s very strong of mind. From the word go he had the ability to get the best out of himself, he knew exactly what he could and couldn’t do, and that’s a priceless skill. The mental side of his game never needed any coaching.”

Vaughan: “Cook has had to eke out every run through hard work and preparation. That’s why it’s remarkable he’s played for 12 years.” Cook retirement sad day for English cricket.

Former England coach and Essex team-mate Andy Flower: “From the start, he was great playing off his hips and had a brilliant pull shot to fast bowlers but it was his stubbornness, his determination, that really came through in his batting. You can’t coach that into someone, it comes from deep within, that hunger that great competitors have. He’ll want to beat you, whether it’s squash, table tennis or cricket.”

Collingwood: “Everyone doubts whether he’s got a good technique or not but never his steeliness, his resilience.”

Stewart: “He left nothing to chance, he worked hard and made sure he always topped the fitness tests.” Cook the man for all conditions Cook scored 18 of his 32 Test centuries abroad, including five in both Australia and India.

Gooch: “His performances in India in 2012-13, when he captained England to a 2-1 Test victory, stand out for me. It was an exhibition in how to play the turning ball. His runs in that series helped us beat India in their own conditions.”

Swann: “Without his runs, we wouldn’t have won that 2010-11 Ashes series quite as convincingly, if not at all.” Cook the last of a dying breed Ex-England spinner

Phil Tufnell: “I’m not sure we will see his like again. He is one of the old-school openers. But there is still room in a Test team of mine for an Alastair Cook.”

Gooch: “Apart from him and Jimmy Anderson, most of the current players have been brought up in the Twenty20 era. So Cook is a dying breed, that Test player who can occupy the crease and graft for his runs – it’s a priceless commodity. I’d like to think there’ll be someone else but I don’t see anyone on the horizon.”

Vaughan: “I hope the send-off Cook will get this week is a real lesson to everyone in cricket that if you play for a long time in Test cricket, that’s the send-off you get. If you’re a real legend – and Alastair Cook is – you get a week like this that you absolutely deserve.” But is he irreplaceable?

Gooch: “It will be very strange to see someone else walking out to open the batting for England in Test cricket.” Moores: “Maybe a completely new partnership will make it easier for somebody. It’s not always easy someone coming in with such a great record. It’s a fresh start and a chance for two new blokes to get in there and form a partnership that will hopefully be successful for the next few years.”

Collingwood: “They’re going to be difficult shoes to fill. Hopefully someone can put their hand up, come in and become a mainstay in the team.”

Farbrace: “There is a new selection group in place and it’ll be their job to make sure England have two good opening batsmen. When Cook finishes and we’re looking round at the experience you’re missing and the runs he scored, that is a massive hole for anybody to fill.”

Flower: “The game moves on and teams move on from great players. He will be missed, but there will be other hungry, strong, young Englishmen that will step in and step up. We all look forward to seeing that and Cook will look forward to seeing other young men developing themselves and challenging themselves in the international set-up.” And is he England’s greatest Test batsman?

Stewart: “If someone breaks his record of Test runs then they’ll be a very, very good player and it will take a long, long time to get there.”

Gooch: “He’s right up there. You could say there are more exciting and entertaining players to watch, but he would have to be ranked in the top two or three.”


Alastair Cook: England great to retire from international cricket after fifth Test

England won 24 of Alastair Cook’s 59 Tests as captainEngland’s highest Test run-scorer Alastair Cook will retire from international cricket after this week’s final Test against India.

The opener, 33, has scored 12,254 runs and made 32 centuries in 160 Tests – all England records. “There is nothing left in the tank,” said Cook, who captained his country in a record 59 Tests. The fifth Test of the series, in which England have an unassailable 3-1 lead, starts on Friday at The Oval. Cook is sixth on the all-time list of Test run-scorers and has made a record 11,627 runs as an opener. He added: “I have achieved more than I could have ever imagined and feel very privileged to have played for such a long time alongside some of the greats of the English game.”

Cook had not scored a century in 27 innings. Calls for him to stand down were growing louder by the day. He may not have made it to three figures, but he received a standing ovation for playing what he claimed was the most pressurised innings of his career. England won the series and he remained as skipper. 263 v Pakistan, Abu Dhabi, 2015: If ever an innings defined Cook’s career, this is it. Showing all his fabled concentration and patience, Cook batted for almost 14 hours in the desert heat – the third longest Test innings in history. Only bad light prevented England from pulling off a remarkable victory.


Number of fast bowlers in India’s attack ‘uncommon’ – Cook

Number of quick bowlers in India’s assault ‘uncommon’ – Cook dinner

First Ravi Shastri, now Alastair Cook. The England batsman feels India’s fast-bowling attack has the type of “energy and depth” he hasn’t seen from them prior to now. Ajinkya Rahane, the Indian vice-captain, in flip stated the assault can “disrupt” England if the bowlers keep affected person, and so they can affect the results of the five-Check collection in the event that they consider themselves to be world-beaters. In an interview with ESPNcricinfo, Shastri had stated that the quick bowlers’ means to persistently take 20 wickets put the group on equal footing with England as contenders within the collection. India’s quicks confirmed that means throughout the three-match Check collection in South Africa in January this 12 months, and they’re hopeful of repeating that in seamer-friendly circumstances in England. Cook dinner, who struck a double-century the final time the 2 groups met at Edgbaston, in 2011, identified that it was a bit “uncommon” to seek out this sort of selection in Indian quick bowling. Ishant Sharma leads the pack that includes Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah and Shardul Thakur, together with Hardik Pandya, who doubles up as an allrounder. All of them are able to touching 140kph and upwards, with some, like Shami and Umesh, additionally possessing the flexibility to swing the ball at these speeds. Cook dinner stated that it could be an excellent problem for him and England, however how good India’s quick bowlers actually are can solely be decided over the approaching six weeks. “They appear to have an excellent number of bowlers – tempo bowlers – which might be uncommon,” Cook dinner stated at a media convention, two days earlier than the primary Check. “And energy and depth of their tempo bowling. Definitely within the final 10 years, since I’ve performed in opposition to them, they have not had the choice of taking part in 5 – 6 various kinds of seamers. That energy and depth of their seamers is totally different to what I’ve skilled prior to now, however we’ll see over the following six weeks.” In response to Rahane, the previous expertise of bowling in England, one thing that Ishant and Shami possess, and the unprecedented success that the quick bowlers loved in South Africa earlier this 12 months, once they accounted for 50 of the 60 wickets throughout the three Checks, ought to make them able to doing the job in additional useful circumstances in England. “Now we have an assault that really can disrupt (the) opponents,” Rahane stated. “However, sure, it is going to be a problem for them to bowl patiently and bowl in the best areas for a protracted time frame.” Regardless of the climate being sizzling throughout England over the previous month, one thing that’s forecast to final over the following few weeks, Rahane stated the quick bowlers would want to maintain their focus. A superb ploy could be to create strain at one finish as an alternative of making an attempt to take wickets from either side, he stated. “It’s a superb alternative for the bowlers to return right here in England and show as soon as once more that we will take 20 wickets (in a Check match). Nobody anticipated them to try this in South Africa. One factor I’ll level out is they need to not put additional strain on themselves. They need to simply look to benefit from the second. They should again themselves and consider that the bowling unit we’ve got is one of the best on this planet.” Doubts have been raised over whether or not India’s Check gamers have had sufficient follow with the purple ball. The Indian suppose tank snipped a time without work the initially scheduled four-day match to the chagrin of the locals at Essex, opting as an alternative for an additional day of coaching at Edgbaston. The thought was that the gamers may get into the Check mode faster that means. Nevertheless, surprising showers poured water over India’s aspirations, forcing them to remain indoors. Rahane, nonetheless, felt that India had been well-equipped within the abilities side and that the true take a look at could be of their psychological character throughout the Check matches. “It essential that slightly than interested by our abilities, it’s all about our mindset, taking part in particularly right here in England. What your mindset is and the way shortly you regulate and the way shortly you deal with the scenario – that’s extra essential than interested by your talent. Ability-level (clever), each groups are on par. It will likely be a take a look at of our thoughts and our character.”